Alan Dee’s movie preview: World War Z, Snitch, A Haunted House

Brad Pitt in World War Z, June 2013
Brad Pitt in World War Z, June 2013
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The first thing to get sorted about Brad Pitt’s new summer blockbuster is whether you’ll be able to order tickets through that infuriating automated service so many multiplexes mistakenly swear by.

As it’s an American effort, we must presume that we are expected to refer to ‘zombies are taking over the world, who can stop them?’ thriller World War Z as World War Zee.

But if you resolutely stick to British pronunciation and try to book seats to see World War Zed, will the voice on the booking line gently chide you and say it can’t work out what you are on about?

Leaving all that to one side, a lot of talent has been hurled at this attempt to bring the bestseller by writer Max Brooks to the big screen.

Brad plays a former UN worker helping a top scientist scour the planet for a cure to the plague that is turning humans into zombies.

But it’s not all Shaun Of The Dead-style slaughter, our dashing hero has depth and he’s conflicted by having to leave his family behind while the world is collapsing into chaos.

There is gore, of course, but this is pretty much as grown up as a zombie movie gets – although whether there’s a market for it remains to be seen.

There seems to be an inexhaustible market for films starring Dwayne Johnson, because the wrestler turned actor formerly known as The Rock is always in demand.

In Snitch – a story apparently inspired by true events – he’s the dad of a teenager accused of being a drug dealer, even though he swears he has been set up.

The only way to get a shorter sentence is to turn supergrass – and because that’s going to be much too dangerous for his lad, Dwayne volunteers to take his place and go undercover to dig the dirt on a notorious drugs cartel.

And of course, when he finds himself caught between the cartel and the cops, it helps that he has a proven track record as an action hero star and is ready to take matters into his own hands. He’s big, it’s not clever, and quite what Susan Sarandon is doing in the cast is beyond me.

A Haunted House ought to be beyond everyone, and is certainly beneath any film fan with an IQ that hits double figures.

The name of Marlon Wayans attached to this project should sound alarm sirens at maximum volume.

Yes, it’s a ‘madcap spoof’ which tries to make Scary Movie-type comedy out of the ghosts and ghouls genre and the ‘found footage’ trend.

Instead it produces a mess which you would be upset to have found on your foot after a walk through a particularly dog mess-infested park, coming a cropper because of its reliance on crude gags which rarely raise so much as a titter.